Nothing can defeat depression more consistently than a clear, powerful sense of life purpose.
When I am very depressed, my life is dominated by nihilistic mantras like “Nothing helps and nothing matters” and “This is all bullshit” – which, on a really bad day, may audibly escape my lips several times an hour. This kind of devastatingly negative experience of my personal world cannot co-exist with a positive vision for what I have to contribute to the world – how i intend to make the world a better place by living out my unique sense of personal calling.
I’m definitely running high today – at least a 4 on my manic depression scale (see page at top of blog). This morning I woke at 4:30 – really the early limit on when I normally wake up. But I was up and at the computer within just a few minutes, buzzing with ideas for this and a couple other blog posts. It’s exciting, it’s positive, it’s constructive. It’s infinitely better than the alternative when I’m depressed – lying in bed for hours, trying/pretending to be asleep, really just not ready or willing to face my life. There is so much clear reason why I would be running high. But I still need to take this running high very seriously, to do everything I possibly can do to ground myself.
The first big factor that has me running high is this blog. This blog is so clearly linked to my own sense of life purpose that it is tremendously important to me.
The second, even bigger factor that has me running high is that in the last couple of days I have gotten dramatically clearer on my sense of life purpose. I have more and more intuitively sensed that this blog is somehow central to my personal calling, but that sense has been mostly only intuitive – murky, not well fleshed out. But in the last two days that vision for my future has come together: threads that for weeks-months-years have been floating around in background, in and out of consciousness, have coalesced into a clear picture.
Yes, this blog is central to my future – and here is why. This blog is a jumping-off point for the business that will carry me into this last phase of generativity in my life. Out of this blog will be birthed three books and a public speaking business that will allow me to devote my full time to powerfully making a difference in the world. It all has to do with bipolar disorder. It is something that is so central to the truth of my life, the unique personal path that I walk. After working for 20 years as a clinical psychologist and dealing with this disease for so long, it is a topic on which I am uniquely qualified to speak. I have, over the last 15 years, applied the personal consciousness that has been shaped by 35 years of personal and spiritual growth work, to the healing of this disease. I have learned a lot – it is meant to be shared.
My poetry book – my first foray into self-publishing. I have sold 130 copies of this xeroxed poetry “chapbook” – a good and encouraging experience around putting my writing out into the world. You can order it from the link on the right!
My first book – “finished” for several years now, just waiting for me to do something with it. Really a pretty solid book – some people adore it.
My next book, for mental health professionals, survivors and family/friends. The product of 20 years practice of clinical psychology and more years of struggling with the disease – and, now, of this blog. I have a lot to say on the topic.
A self-help book for people with the disorder. Besides my clinical psychology and personal bipolar history, I have taught all manner of personal growth courses for 30 years, designed courses for management consulting firms, etc. It’s a natural for me.
The vision that inspired my fire walk in June: what I was willing to do “no matter what it takes”, what I would walk across hot coals to realize. It was a moment of personal triumph – and clear vision.
Public speaking has clearly, for a long time, been meant to be part of my life purpose. I’m a performer, it’s in my DNA – it’s my karma. Back in Chicago, I won some very high awards for my public speaking in that region of 1500 Toastmasters. Here in Asheville, I have for nine years now performed my poetry four times a year at Jubilee, my non-denominational church – where we can get 500-700 people at two services on a Sunday and where my performance poetry is absolutely adored. Three years ago, I and two other men poets attracted 75 people, midweek for $10 a head, to an evening of poetry. I went into an absolute zone, brought the house down, and emerged from that evening into a mountain top experience where I knew that my writer’s voice – and my performing – were meant for a much bigger stage than Jubilee, bigger than Asheville.
A vision for a public speaking business based on this blog and these books. I’m a phenomenal speaker – it’s work I was born to do.
But I never was able to find the baby steps to realize that overwhelmingly powerful vision and I collapsed into a very deep depression – actually into a downward spiral that went on for over three years. Now I am back to that mountain-top vision, but this time I have baby steps to take – this blog, one post at a time. This blog will lead me towards those bigger goals.
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